Saturday, August 6, 2016

I thought this statement

by bell hooks was pretty accurate. It certainly corresponds with a number of experiences I had when I was growing up and and also after adulthood. It also reminded me that I had made up some rules for myself as I went along in life that served to guide me in my behavior and I created those rules because of my fear of what might happen to me if I didn't behave and speak in certain ways...or avoid behaving or speaking in certain ways.

What I hadn't thought much about was the violence (or threat of violence) associated with those rules. But once I read this I remembered that hints or threats of it were always sort of floating around as these "acts of psychic self-mutilation" were taught.

When I began the journey of learning to do psychotherapy I ran smack into one of those rules and had a big struggle...that continues, from time to time, to this day.

That's the rule that "men don't cry". Guess what...you can't do psychotherapy effectively unless you can cry...because to be able to authentically cry you must be in touch with your feelings...and there's no way to effectively perform psychotherapy unless you're in touch with your own feelings.

Patriarchy (USA style) has to first be violent or threaten violence toward those little children called "boys" in order to train/create the adults who enact and perpetuate that patriarchy. Mostly (but not always) that violence (or threat of violence) comes from adults called "men" and is directed toward young humans who are called "boys".

In addition...and this is not a small thing...the rules of patriarchy are often also taught by women. Which means that little boys (I'm writing from my perspective as a white man who was once a little white boy...so I'm only able to have experienced being taught the rules of "being a man" from the perspective of being white) often have no adults around them who aren't encouraging and/or teaching and/or enforcing the rules of patriarchy (I'm specifically referring to USA type white patriarchy here).

It's pretty insidious when you think about it...the enactors (who are ones who primarily benefit from patriarchy) have helpers who also teach/enforce the rules of patriarchy and those helpers are the victims of that system...women. Human children really don't have much of a chance to break out of patriarchy since almost all of the adults they encounter are teachers/enforcers of the rules of patriarchy.

Think of all the wars that are instigated and fought by men...all the violence that comes from men...does this have anything to do with the "psychic self-mutilation" that little boys do to themselves in their attempts to follow the rules of patriarchy? Hmmm....

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